Iceland is not a country known for its culinary delights, but the food is not as weird or terrible as you you’ve been lead to believe.
Tip: Be sure to visit a Bónus, Krónan or Nettó store to stock up on cheap Icelandic treats, sweets and chocolate. They’re kind of like an Aldi, only more Icelandic.
Skyr is a dairy product, similar to yoghurt but milder in flavour. Full of protein, Skyr is incredibly good for you and can be enjoyed for breakfast or dessert! Enjoy it topped with the fresh wild blueberries you picked on your trek through the countryside or try a slice of homemade Skyr cake at a café or bakery, it’s delicious.
Lamb meat soup
Warm, hearty and local, the lamb meat soup in Iceland is quite possible the best soup I’ve ever had. Icelandic lamb tastes different to lamb in Australia thanks to their incredible lifestyle. Sheep in Iceland are left to graze on the moss and grass of the mountains, out in the wild, and are brought back to farms by herders for the winter.
Scandinavia and Iceland are well known for their love of the humble hot dog. Although the hot dogs in Reykjavik are considered the best, don’t let that be the only dog you try! The hot dogs flavours vary across the country, from the different cheeses they use to the variety of onions they top the dog with.
Yes it’s as gross as it sounds, but everything is worth trying at least once! Plus, no argument is more valid than when you can say with experience that it tastes horrible. I have to admit, I couldn’t actually go through with tasting it. To my defence, I have tried pickled herring and fermented fish in Scandinavia so I think I deserve the exemption.
Ok, if I couldn’t convince you to give the fermented shark a go, at least try the dried fish. I did and I hated it but to be fair, the smell is worse than the taste. It’s kind of like eating fishy chewing gum… only worse. I brought some home for friends and family to try and some of them actually liked it!
Keeping up with the fish theme is Arctic Char, a local fish that’s a lot like salmon only sweeter. The fish is native to the waters around Iceland so you’ll come across it on the menu quite a lot. The best Arctic Char I had was at the Blue Lagoon restaurant. I don’t like seafood at the best of times but I managed to enjoy this particular fish a number of times.
Happy Marriage Cake
Although not a standout unique dish on its own, it’s the story of the Hjónabandssaela cake or Happy Marriage cake that makes this dish special. Women bake happy marriage cake for the mother of their husband-to-be to win their approval and enjoy a happy marriage. So romantic! The cake is an oatmeal slice made with rhubarb and often served with tea or coffee.
And it wouldn’t be a list of must eats without chocolate! In Iceland, it’s perfectly normal to enjoy a chocolate bar at 9am. Sounds good to me! Iceland make their chocolate varieties which you’ll find at convenience stores, supermarkets and souvenir stores. Nói Síríus was my favourite.
What’s your favourite Icelandic food? Let me know in the comments below!